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Micah - I'm Only One Man CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.05 | 22 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars One of the truest examples of an early US prog obscurity, MICAH was a progressive rock band that formed in Terre Haute, Indiana and existed for three years before becoming a mere footnote in history. This band featured Gary Taylor Ohlson (keyboards, Hammond organ, synthesizer), George Robert Wolff (drums, percussion), Martin "Marty" Horne (lead guitar), Gus Hernandez (bass) and Robert "Bob" Rowe (lead vocals).

The band only left behind this sole trace of its existence. I'M ONLY ONE MAN appeared in 1971 with only a few private pressings. The original vinyl has become one of those highly desired collectibles however it has been re-released both on vinyl and CD on the Shadoks label in recent years. An interesting little musical specimen, there are really only two title tracks respectively with the added titling "Part I" and "Part II" however on the album itself it lists seven tracks with different titles. The entire album was only 30 minutes long but what an outstanding job these guys did!

This music is an excellent mix off 60s psychedelic rock with the classic Hammond organ sounds of Quatermass, Beggar's Opera, Cressida and even Deep Purple however the vocals are more in the soul category reminding of Steve Windwood and other bluesy singers from the late 60s. The energetic drive however is much more in the realms of the contemporary early 70s in the vein of Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and other heavier rock bands. Add the fuzz guitars, extraordinarily competent drumming wizardry and some bantering bass grooves and you got yourself an interesting specimen of underground prog here.

In many ways MICAH sounded like a garage band at least in tone and timbre. There is an amateurish DIY vibe to the whole thing but brought to the next level with more than competent songwriting and exquisite instrumental interplay. While the two tracks are composed of myriad motifs, the entire album sort of connects in a continuous stream of consciousness. The segments are melodic and there is sort of a chorus / verse / bridge thing going on but the entire run features interesting connective instrumentals which lead back to a reprise of the vocal parts. It's all quite intelligently designed and while the main focus is on the melodic developments, the extended time allows some excellent soloing most pronounced on the organ but also from the guitar and drums.

This wasn't love at first listen. I'm not really fond of this vocal style and the organ sounds dated for 1971. This really evokes the 1968 timeline however some of the slower transitions remind me of The Move especially on "Shazam." More than anyone else though, MICAH sounds like the American version of the UK's Cressida. The vocal range is similarly limited in range. The organs are the dominant instrumentation and the music exhibits a straightforward songwriting approach that has merely been augmented into crafting a longer stream of flow by adding jamming sections and off the wall twists and turns. It took a few listens but it finally sunk in how excellent this album really is. This is quite the undiscovered gem from the early US prog underground.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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